Yes, the two German auto giants, BMW and Daimler (owners of Mercedes-Benz), are teaming up to co-develop autonomous driving technologies. They propose to have something for the market by mid-2020s.
A statement has been sent out confirming the news, with the two companies signing a Memorandum of Understanding. Specifically, they want to hone in on advancing driver assistance systems, including autonomous driving on highways and car parks, at up to SAE Level 4. Klaus Fröhlich, BMW AG board member for development, said:
“As we continue to pursue our strategy, we are combining the expertise of two technology leaders. At the BMW Group, long-term partnerships within a flexible, scalable, non-exclusive platform are fundamental to advancing the industrialisation of autonomous driving. Combining the key expertise of our two companies will boost our innovative strength and speed up the spread of this technology.”
Sharing development offers a number of advantages to both companies, including sharing costs and sharing expertise. But above all it should speed up the development so such technologies can be available on the market sooner than otherwise capable. Ola Källenius, Daimler board member for Mercedes development, said:
“As always at Daimler, our top priority is safety. Instead of individual, stand-alone solutions, we want to develop a reliable overall system that offers noticeable added-value for customers. Working with the right partners, we want to make significant advances in enhancing the performance of this technology and bring it safely on the road.”
The plan is to develop a scalable architecture that offers Level 3 and Level 4 autonomous driving. Both companies will also continue to explore other partnerships with other tech groups that may be able to assist with the development of the platform.